“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves—their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” Peter Drucker
Would you like to build a thriving coaching practice? If so, self-awareness, a facet of emotional intelligence (EQ), is critical to your success.
Science journalist and psychologist Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of wildly popular book, Emotional Intelligence, defines self-awareness as the ability to monitor our inner world, to understand our emotions, drives, and motives, and their effect on others. It infers a realistic sense of self and an ability to name our emotions.
Coaches who are self-aware are clear in their understanding of their strengths, their weaknesses, what motivates and satisfies them, and who and what pushes their buttons. They self-manage well.
According to Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “Self-awareness is so important for job performance that 83 percent of people high in self-awareness are top performers. As self-awareness increases, people’s satisfaction with life skyrockets.
And if that’s not enough to motivate you to grow in self-awareness, a foundational component of emotional intelligence, maybe this will: People with high EQ make an average of $29,000 more per year than people with low EQs.
So what does self-awareness look like for a coach?
What Self-Awareness Does and Doesn’t Look Like
Judy, a relatively new coach, has long-term goals for launching a full-time coaching practice. She has reduced her spending by 25 percent, and resists her intense desire to spend money on superfluous material things that offer nothing more than a few fleeting minutes of immediate gratification. Simply put, she doesn’t sacrifice long-term goals for momentary, short-term gains.
Then there’s Steven. He is so passionate about coaching that he jumps in with questions while his clients are still speaking. In fact, he interrupts clients every few minutes all throughout his coaching calls. Although he started out with seven clients, two month’s later, Steven is down to just two clients
The good news for Steven, and others like him, is that you can increase your self-awareness.
Strategies to Increase Self-Awareness
The following strategies, adapted from Bradberry and Greaves’ book, will help you increase your self-awareness:
Quit Treating Your Feelings as Good and Bad
Consider this scenario. You’re working with a client who, in an effort to build your caseload, you are seeing at a discounted rate. The problem is she emails you constantly between calls, and requests spot calls every few days.
You’re feeling angry and resentful. Instead of judging and repressing your emotions, ask what your emotions are telling you. In a case like this, your emotions may be telling you it’s time for direct communication and drawing boundary lines.
Lean into Your Discomfort
It’s human nature to want to avoid that discomfort that comes with seeing yourself as you really are. Rather than repressing or avoiding a feeling, lean into it. What is it trying to tell you?
Not long ago, I had six clients scheduled in one day. I found myself feeling stressed and unsettled. Although I love what I do, six clients in one day is too much for me to handle as an introvert. I have since restructured my days and take no more than three clients on any given day.
Get to Know Yourself Under Stress
Do you heed the warning signs that surface when you’re under pressure? That lack of peace you’re feeling because you’ve overcommitted yourself travels through the phone lines and impacts the quality of your coaching. You realize you’re not fully present during the call, and you find your mind wandering.
Recognize these signals and add some downtown on the calendar to recharge your battery. You may need to cut back on your commitments and learn to say no.
To find more practical strategies for increasing your self-awareness, purchase Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
How can you grow in self-awareness?